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First hunting rifle, .308 or .30-'06?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Hrethgir, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. Hrethgir

    Hrethgir Beaverton, OR Active Member

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    So, now that I've gotten into firearms, I think it's time to give hunting a try. I eat lots of meat, I shouldn't shield myself from that side of it, I know it doesn't grow in shrink-wrapped Styrofoam! Anyways I have a few rifles, but nothing specifically for hunting. I've never been hunting either, which is why this would be my first hunting rifle, lol! I know the 22LR isn't good for anything big (I reckon I'll want to start on deer), the .223/5.56 is fine for hogs (if we had any in Oregon!) but kind of borderline for deer, and while the 7.62x54R the Mosin shoots would be plenty, I don't think I want to haul that huge thing around in the woods! Could use rifled slugs in my 20ga also, but I think I want something a little more purpose-built for hunting. I'm probably going to get a Ruger American, seems like a very good rifle for a very good price. They have it in many calibers also, but these two seem like they would be good for much more than just deer if I decide to try my hand at elk or whatever. I've fired a .30-'06 before, but never a .308, so I have no personal experience with that round, but an avid hunter I work with has taken lots of game with his .308. So basically, what are the pro's and con's of these two rounds? Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. JRuby

    JRuby St. Helens Oregon Well-Known Member

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    My opinion s that the rifle makes a bigger difference in recoil between the 30-06 and the 308 Winchester - I am a 30-06 fan and think if given the choice in a bolt gun between the two the old ought six would win out and has in my gun cabinet. One consideration since I don't know you or your cash flow - however a cheap way to pick up a good rifle second hand might be to visit a pawn shop or two - typically they will dicker. I am not a fan of Savage 110 rifles - however I managed to pick up a used one in very good condition for 225$ I ( almost new ). Thanks to a couple of guys on this board - I picked up a nice Bushnell Scopechief scope for 40.00$ - out the door my backup rifle came to 265.00$ and some gas. Just some thoughts.
     
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  3. cpy911

    cpy911 Newberg Active Member

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    The 30-30 Winchester cartridge has been putting deer down for 119 years now. It is an intermediate cartridge that does not kick too much and just works for your purpose of hunting.

    Shop for a Marlin 336, Winchester 94 (used), Rossi Rio Grande, Mossberg 464, Henry .30/30 Rifle that will do the job just fine.


    If you need more range, the new LEVERevolution ammo gets you more range. See http://www.hornady.com/store/30-30-Win-160-gr-FTX-LEVERevolution/

    I would feel confident hunting Elk with my Marlin 336 as I have practiced with it a lot and know the range limitations and hold over needed to extend the range. I wouldn't hesitate to take a 200 yd shot in the right conditions. So don't discount the 30-30.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
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  4. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I'm in the same place more or less as the OP,

    Just bought a Ruger gunsite scout. It's a .308 and I figured I'd get more use out if it then I would a full size hunting rifle.

    I'm breaking it in Thursday so I'll let you know how it goes.
     
  5. BaggerRyder

    BaggerRyder The Couv Active Member

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    I think the caliber also depends on where you will be hunting. Coast range for deer the 30.30 is perfect. Light weight, cheap to shoot, and very light recoil. Plus lever actions are very fun to shoot IMO.
    Open range such as eastern Oregon where your shots will be farther out a flat shooting .270 will work great. As will the .06. If you plan on hunting elk eventually, I'd go with the .06. A well placed bullet from an .06 will kill most anything we can hunt in the lower 48.
     
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  6. Hrethgir

    Hrethgir Beaverton, OR Active Member

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    That's why I'm leaning towards the '06, should be good for everything, although maybe a little overkill for squirrels and sage rats, lol! Bu that's what the 22LR and 17HMR would be good for. Just heard good things about the .308 also, but have zero experience with that cartridge. So much to learn about hunting still!
     
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  7. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer SE Washington state Active Member

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    I fired a Ruger American at our club a few months back. It wasn't bad but I wasn't that impressed. My Stevens 200 with Rifle Basics trigger easily outshot it. In my opinion, a much better option that might even be less expensive is the Marlin X7. I have one in .270 Win that I picked up last fall for just $249.95 on sale and I have been very impressed with it. Lightweight, decent recoil pad, decent trigger and it shoots right around MOA with 130 gr handloads. I would grab one of those ahead of the Ruger American or a Savage Axis. The Weatherby Vanguard S2 is probably a little nicer but weighs at least a pound more, and is quite a bit more expensive. They offer the Marlin in a decent variety of chamberings, including .308 and .30-06. You might want to check one out.
     
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  8. SquidHC

    SquidHC Portland, Oregon New Member

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    I shoot .308 and when I go ammo shopping I see stacks of 30-06 and empty shelves where the .308 should be. Unless you reload this is something to seriously consider.

    Might also want to consider the 7mm. That said, I have a 30-30 lever action and I think it is one hell of a brush gun.

    All that said, I archery hunt so I can't really say much other that that a well placed shot of any reasonable caliber will down an animal quickly.
     
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  9. Hrethgir

    Hrethgir Beaverton, OR Active Member

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    I haven't really paid attention to ammo availability for any of these yet, so that is definitely something to consider. Guess I have some looking and research to do, gotta check out that Marlin everyone mentions.​
     
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  10. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Look at the classifieds/internet and whatnot.. there's .308 to be had for sure. Also, as you may well know, many militaries use the ".308".. there's probably one million times as many .308 rounds on the planet as compared to '06.
    Just get the .308 and reload anyway .
     
  11. pyromancer

    pyromancer Portland Freelance Graphic Designer Bronze Supporter

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    I went .308 when I got my rifle about 5 years back and this was the determining factor for me. The difference between .308 and 30-06 didn't seem like enough to make the decision on. Cheaper bulk ammo to practice with (at the time don't know about now) and once fired military brass made up my mind.
     
  12. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Kinda like the 9x19 compared to the 9mm Largo or somesuch. Yea, the Largo etc. might be on the shelf but wha?
     
  13. jluck

    jluck Really,Really, Close to Newport Oregon 97365 Voted #1 Member

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    You contemplating the same bullet propelled by two different size Cartridges/chambers (powder vehicles), That's it. I know people make this a bigger deal than it needs to be. ALWAYS go for the bigger cartridge in this situation IMO. If you want the supposed less recoil of a .308, Get a muzzle break or reduced power ammo. If You decide to kick it up a notch and reload you will have more options with effectively propelling bigger bullets for larger animals or long range shooting with the larger case capacity of the '06.

    The 30-30/ "been putting them down" for a million years stuff I think is pure terrible advice if you are seeking a new rifle purchase and not using one because it's already available. Why limit yourself on ballistic advantage if there is no reason to do so, You wont be saving any money by buying 30-30 ammo nor with the gun be any cheaper than a decent real hunting rifle.

    For a first hunting rifle I'd personally would go with a .280 Remington first (If you don't mind ordering ammo sometimes), Then the .270 Win and finally the Good 'ole '06.

    Just don't over think it, Filter the opinions, buy a decent rifle with good terminal ballistics and shoot the crap out of it. It's Okay to change to something else in the future to 'ya know.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
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  14. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    .308 is sometimes slightly more accurate than .30-06, but not enough to matter. .30-06 is slightly more versatile than the .308 when it comes to heavier bullets. Buy either one you'll be happy. Save the .30-30 buying and such for later. In Oregon a man with a .308 or '06 really only needs one hunting rifle.
     
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  15. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    This is nothing but a Chevy vs Ford type of thing. Can't go wrong with either.

    FWIW I've killed a bunch of deer and elk over the years with the same old Winchester model 100 chambered in .308 I've had since I was 11 years old.
     
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  16. tj3006

    tj3006 portland ore Member

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    I would say .308. But the )^ is fine too.
    Factory loads are about the same with 150 and 156 grain bullets. The 06 is better with 180s and up.
    I just like the quick handling rifles in .308
    The Ruger American is accurate, but to me but ugly. You might just go to a gun show. If there is not 30, .308s and 40, 06s to choose from i would be surprised .
    However the ruger is probably a smart choice. I just like the clasics better...tj3006
     
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  17. Hrethgir

    Hrethgir Beaverton, OR Active Member

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    Yeah, I'm not too concerned with looks, this will be a working gun, not a safe queen. I like my other Ruger too, part of the reason I'm leaning towards the American. But I'm not set in concrete or anything yet. Definitely leaning hard towards the -06, love the versatility you get with different weight bullets. Plus, I've never hunted before, don't know if I'll even like it, so don't want to spend a small fortune on different guns and calibers if I'm only going to go out once and hate it, knomsayin'? Heck, I'm not even sure how to get a hunting license, lol!
     
  18. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I don't think Nordstrom's sells hunting licenses but many other places do.. Bi-Mart, Fred Meyer, yadda.
     
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  19. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    First hunting rifle, .308 or .30-'06?

    Yes.

    Unless you are shooting 180gr or heavier bullets, or get seriously into handloading, they are identical performers.

    As stated practice ammo is likely cheaper to find for the 308, but in the last few years that advantage has lessened.

    Find a good rifle in one of these calibers and you'll be fine.

    My choice is the 30-06.
     
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  20. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    I reload, so I chose the 30-06 because I could get better ballistics with the lighter bullet weights I shoot. I bought a Winchester Model 70.
     
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